Hidden Treasures: Employers and Applicants Should Dig Deep For Valuable Traits

Whether you seek a life-changing career opportunity or a blue-chip executive to join your team, it’s important to focus on the hidden treasures buried within a hiring manager’s stack of resumes.

Companies value people who stand apart. Like any commodity, the worth of personal characteristics rises if they are scarce or unique. Corporate leaders pride themselves on picking team members who are particularly attuned to a position or whose skills match perfectly a given challenge. Successfully cultivating executive talent lies in identifying the unique traits that set a candidate apart and putting them to the best use possible.

Here are some inside tips on cultivating the hidden treasures hiring managers seek:

1. Create Value: What are your biggest talents, and how can you exploit them in ways that no one else can? What have you done that no one else can claim? Maybe it’s experience guiding a company through an unprecedented challenge. Perhaps you broke a previously untouchable sales record or pioneered the use of a new technology in your industry. Study the leaders in your business who share your strengths. Use their experience as a guide to evaluate the potential of your unique personality, skill set and life experience.

2. Persevere: It may take time, but your passions and unique strengths will become more apparent the longer you look for them. Your niche will evolve over time, and it will become more clear what you have that others don’t. Stay assertive, determined and focused on the personal characteristics you want to develop over time.

3. Innovate: You might be the only person in the world with a given talent, but that won’t matter if no one knows about it. Just as a skill set needs to stand out within a job application, so does the application itself. Supplement your curriculum vitae with a video resume or a personal website. Use social networking tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to generate word-of-mouth buzz about your strengths.

4. Stay confident: Eventually someone will get the position. You can become that person if you carry yourself in a way that says you are the best candidate. Hiring managers take note of people who remain self-assured in the face of uncertainty. Remember that you are not alone, and your competition faces the same challenges. Stress may cause all kinds of negative behavior, but it’s also a catalyst for growth.

5. Attitude: This often determines the fate of the final two candidates. All recruiting discussions eventually progress to conflict-prone topics like compensation, title and location. In a tight job market, it’s crucial to balance confidence with respect for the company’s financial position. Remaining pragmatic and humble during the hiring process indicates you will be a team player if they give you the job.

Above all, don’t be typical. Take care to understand what sets you apart from the competition. You’ll be well served by focusing your professional development on those unique strengths – the hidden treasures that separate the merely qualified from those who can do the job better than anyone else.

At Christopher Frederick, we’ve spent more than 20 years unearthing the candidates best suited to our clients’ executive positions. To learn more about how we can improve your next executive search, visit our resources page or read more in our past newsletters. For more information, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com.

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